Norwegian Black Metal

RÛR – RÛR Review

RÛR – RÛR Review

“Oh, departures. Not traditionally a wildly anticipated experience, and yet to know someone is to invariably set the stage for a future farewell; all roads end in goodbye, whether spoken aloud, though silently alone, or else whispered in the dark before an audience of no one. Some goodbyes sing of poignant possibility, others give voice to the shape of grief to come. But the declaration of egress I now deliver unto you, my children, sounds… waaay more fuckin’ bleak than I had intended to, yo, good Jørn. In a nutshell, what I mean is that RÛR‘s self-titled triumph is the last black metal review I intend to write for a while and it’s as befitting the occasion as they come.” Goodbye to necromance.

Yer Metal Is Olde! Ulver – Bergtatt

Yer Metal Is Olde! Ulver – Bergtatt

Yer Metal Is Olde! is a recurring thing that we’re using to fill up space while we scramble around looking for reviews of new material that is worth reviewing. The idea was spurred on by the swath of amazing and classic records that are turning 10, 20, or 30 this year. It’s crazy to think that all the stuff that we worship is really as old as it is. Time moves quickly, but these classics never seem to lose their shine. Still, their enduring quality doesn’t change that your favorite metal is fucking old. Note: our focus today, Ulver‘s Bergtatt is actually only 19 years old, but it was recorded in 1994 and for some reason I thought it was released then, too. Once I’d written this retro-review, I discovered that I was wrong. While it makes it less Olde, it’s not so much less. And it certainly deserves recognition.

Kampfar – Djevelmakt Review

Kampfar – Djevelmakt Review

“With a career spanning a near lifetime (20-years to be exact), Kampfar refuse to sit squarely in any one particular niche. They shamelessly delivered their self-titled EP, Mellom Skogkledde Aaser and Fra Underverdenen as part of their first creative wave, hitting you up with old school black metal with the typical raw traditionalism you’ve come to expect of a two-man Norwegian act. When that didn’t translate into a particularly nifty live performance, more members were added and the the band forged ahead with with their second creative wave delivering Kvass and Heimgang….” Madam X surfs the waves of black metal as brought to you by Kampfar. But is their next wave worth catching?

Gehenna – Unravel Review

Gehenna – Unravel Review

“With a hefty eight years under their bullet belts since the release of WW, Gehenna make their long-awaited return with their latest funeral doom offering… uh no wait, scratch that! It’s most definitely snow-capped, Norwegian, black metal following in the same general direction as say Taake or Urgehal. With a hulking eight year wait, I was holding my breath in expectation of a funereal dirge at the very least…” Madam X thought these cats were long dead and buried and since she loves listening to funeral music, she’s a bit put out that they’ve come back from the Great Beyond. Regardless, she’s a professional so she does her job and gives some grim analysis.

Sarkom – Doomsday Elite Review

Sarkom – Doomsday Elite Review

“End days… Fimbulvetr… the cold, darkness of three consecutive winters; the sun and moon torn from the sky; the dead rising from their graves and poison filling the air – all-encompassing despair! That’s what comes to mind when you pick up Sarkom‘s Doomsday Elite, well that and cardio; double-tap; limber up and it’s a marathon not a sprint, unless it’s a sprint, then sprint already! But I digress, Norwegian based Sarkom play the kind of black metal that’s packed with jagged, razor sharp blast-beats, inflicting a bite as deep and destructive as say Gravdal, Endezzma or Nidingr.” End days, marathons, cold and darkness. Some of these things make Madam X happy. Find out which!

Slegest – Løyndom Review

Slegest – Løyndom Review

“I typically associate the Norwegian style of black metal with either the raw aggression of say Gorgoroth, Carpathian Forest or Taake or the more classic atmospheric beauty of Burzum or Ulver. One of my favorite movie depictions of this very dedicated brand of black metal is that goose-bump moment in Until the Light Takes Us when Fenriz is sitting on the train and Ulver‘s “Not Saved” starts playing… atmosphere as thick as mist you can’t help re-playing that moment over and over. So when did this very somber brand of metal, so dedicated to opposition, start to follow the crowd and take on such a dirty, ear-friendly, catchy groove?” This is a valid and intriguing question and Madam X demands answers! Comply or get whipped.

Enslaved – RIITIIR Review

Enslaved – RIITIIR Review

Enslaved has really secured its position in the highest tear of metal bands in the world. Though they started out long ago in the second wave of Norwegian black metal, nothing they’ve done since the late 90s has really represented that faction of their existence. Instead, they’ve become one of metal’s shining examples of a transition from the extreme to the progressive. While doing more to maintain their extremity than a band like Anathema or Katatonia have done, the band’s last full length Axioma Ethica Odini and their EP The Sleeping Gods both lacked extremity while pushing out the borders of the band’s progressive bona fides. I wasn’t sure of what to make of Enslaved‘s RIITIIR when it first arrived – but while the record is ostensibly different than the band’s previous work, that mellow, bong-water stain of ’70s progressive rock continues to push further and further from their black metal roots. For the better?

Retro Reviews: Trelldom – Til et annet…

Retro Reviews: Trelldom – Til et annet…

Angry Metal Guy (hey, that’s me!) and Steel Druhm have long had it in for black metal. Indeed, one can hardly look upon the pages of AngryMetalGuy.com without hearing a cranky metal guy bitching up a storm about how black metal isn’t what it once was; how it’s boring, overly conservative (not necessarily in viewpoints, but in musical approach) and mediocre. Hell, even the new girl is in on the “black metal is boring” thing. So, tonight, when a friend of mine was showing me some of his tracks and they reminded me of Trelldom and I was suddenly struck with a bit of nostalgia and broke out Til et annet… a great record which maybe hit a tad too late for the trve black metal folks.